The Genius Guide to the Opportunist
This hybrid class clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
The opportunist is a hybrid class of barbarian and rogue, which, chassis-wise, gets d10 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, proficiency in simple and martial weapons, an exotic weapon, as well as light armor and light shields, full BAB-progression and good Fort- and Ref-saves. At first level, the class gets the key feature opportunistic attack, which, at this level, is +1d4 damage with AoOs and while flanking, and increases by +1d4 at every 2 opportunist levels thereafter. This bonus damage is not multiplied on critical hits, and the damage may be nonlethal in conjunction with attacks that inflict nonlethal damage. As a final caveat, the opportunist must be able to see the target well enough (as a nitpick: perceive would have probably been better). The class feature counts as sneak attack for the purpose of abilities, prerequisites and class features based on sneak attack. Secondly, the class gets overload at 1st level.
Overload is basically the rage-equivalent here, and while the number of rounds per day (4+ Con-mod, +2 per class level beyond first) is based on Constitution, the benefits are not: +4 to Strength or Dexterity, or the opportunist can get +2 to both Strength and Dexterity. While in this state, the opportunist can’t use spells or perform a task that is in excess of 5 rounds (half a minute) duration, and takes a -4 penalty to Will saves. After overload state is exited, the class suffers from fatigue for twice the number of rounds spent in overload state. 11th level reduces the penalty to Will-saves to -2, and increases the bonuses to +6 or +4, respectively. 17th level eliminates fatigue, and the capstone, no surprise there, increases the bonuses to +8 or +6.
2nd level nets reflexive combatant, which provides Combat Reflexes and an additional AoO per round for every 5 class levels attained. 3rd level nets trap sense, 4th uncanny dodge, and 8th level nets improved uncanny dodge. At 5th level, we get feinting opportunity, which allows for the use of a move action to use Bluff to feint in combat. Alternatively, the opportunist may forego the first attack in a round (note that this does NOT limit the ability to full attacks!) to feint, and targets successfully fainted take opportunistic strike’s damage until the opponent’s next turn. Not tying this to the opportunist, but to the enemy, is actually pretty smart, as it means that you have to play tactical. Delaying actions may be a smart move. At 10th level, the class may use this feature as a swift action, which theoretically means that you can feint twice in a round, as the ability has no 1/round limit.
At 14th level, the opportunist gains Vital Strike, or the subsequent feats in that tree, if they already have the previous one. After using Vital Strike in a given round, the benefits of the feat may be applied to the next Intelligence modifier AoOs executed before the start of the next round. At 16th level, the critical multiplier of weapons is increased by 1 when executing AoOs – and thankfully, this does cap at x4. The second capstone beyond the final overload upgrade would be master opportunist, which lets the opportunist declare up to Intelligence modifier attacks per round as AoO, which do not count against the limit of AoOs per round. The class feature also negates the benefits granted of the Mobility feat versus opportunist AoOs.
Unsurprisingly, the opportunist class does come with its array of class talents to customize the experience. The class gets the first of these at 2nd level, adding another every 2 levels thereafter. The class may also take rogue talents and rage powers, with the latter instead using overload as the rage-substitution. As far as the class-specific ones are concerned, we can find, among others, +10 ft. base speed while overloading, or the option to draw a hidden weapon as a move action, making targets that failed to perceive it eligible for opportunistic attacks. Kudos: This can’t be cheesed due to a hex-like caveat. There is also a talent that allows the opportunist to execute an AoO when failing a combat maneuver chosen from a list, but only while in overload. There is an option to count attacks executed in the surprise round as AoOs when overloading, immunity to poison and disease and the means to ignore them in overload (thankfully locked behind 6th level and a prerequisite talent that nets +4 to saves versus the like in overload), increased reach, and the means to share a lesser version of overload with allies.
At 10th level, we have advanced talents, and here a plethora of skill unlocks is covered. Interesting would be the option to provoke a number of AoOs equal to Intelligence -mod; creatures that fall for this and take the AoOs themselves then provoke AoOs from the opportunist. I assume that the opportunist’s AoOs are resolved after those of the creatures duped into attacking, but the verbiage could be slightly clearer regarding sequence here. Adding damage to combat maneuvers, thankfully with a 1/round cap, can also be found.
The pdf does contain multiple archetypes for the class: The bareknuckle master gains Improved Unarmed Strike and associated damage increases, and Int-based style monk bonus to AC and CMD (which replaces the talents gained at 6th levels and every 6 levels thereafter), substitutes trap sense with fast movement, and 4th level’s talent with the magic/cold iron/etc.-progression for unarmed strikes. At 5th level, the archetype always has a running start when trying to jump and adds class level to Acrobatics checks.
The exoticist gains proficiency in simple weapons and an exotic weapon, and deals more damage with opportunistic attack, increasing damage die size to d8, but only in conjunction with exotic weapons. For other weapons, they reduce the die-size to d3. Instead of the talents gained at 2nd, 4th, 8th and 12th level, these guys get Weapon Focus (2nd), Weapon Specialization (4th), Greater Weapon Focus (8th) and Greater Weapon Specialization (12th). The trap sense ability is replaced with a +1 bonus to atk and damage that increases every 3 levels thereafter. This bonus is also added to combat maneuvers executed with exotic weapons, and the bonus is also added to CMD versus disarm and sunder of the exotic weapon.
The mentalist archetype gets a variant of overload, namely overdrive, which instead enhances the Intelligence and Wisdom ability scores, while penalizing Fort-saves. An unfortunate oversight would be that this does not scale – the greater/tireless/mighty abilities granted thus now point into the empty void, as the ability does not explicitly state that this is treated as overload instead. Instead of trap sense, we get opportune inspiration, which nets class level + Intelligence modifier points, which may be used as a free action to add a bonus to the skill checks from a fixed list, with the bonus equal to the number of opportunistic attack dice. The archetype may, however, take the skill unlock talents as regular talents starting 4th level, replacing uncanny dodge. This one is a bit messy.
Finally, there would be the practitioner, who is only proficient with simple weapons, armor and shields and gains produce flame and shadow weapon as at-will SPs. Using class level as caster levels. At 3rd level, the archetype may, as a standard action, to enter a state of readiness that allows them to make AoOs with SPs versus targets within 5 ft. times CL. This replaces trap sense, and the practitioner’s holding etc. is noted properly. I do have an issue here, namely that the SP-AoO-ability should definitely only apply to SPs granted by this archetype. With multiclassing, you can really do some super-nasty tricks without this caveat, so yeah…this can be rather broken. Starting at 4th level, we get a progression of spell-like abilities of up to 4th spell level, replacing the talents gained at 4th, 8th, 12th and 16th level, and drawing said SPs from a custom list. At 6th level, we get the impromptu opportunistic attack, which 1/day lets you declare a ranged (30 ft.) or melee attack to be an opportunistic attack. The target loses Dex-bonus versus the attack, and critical hit immunity does fortify against this. 10th level and every 4 levels thereafter provide an additional daily use, replacing the talents gained at all these levels.
The pdf contains 5 different feats: Elemental Practitioner is an exclusive for the practitioner archetype, and lets you choose one of the 3 core energy types that is not fire, and substitutes the chosen energy type for the effects of produce flame. Extra Opportunist Talent does what it says on the tin; Focused Opportunistic Attack lets you forego regular attacks to increase the die size of opportunistic attack until the start of your next turn by one step. Overload Impulses replaces the penalty to Will-saves with half as much penalty to AC, Ref-saves and Dexterity-based skill checks. Overload System reassigns the penalty to Will-saves to Fortitude instead.
Editing and formatting are top-notch on a formal level. On a rules-language level, the pdf is also exceedingly precise for the most part – apart from the two snafus among the archetypes, the pdf is otherwise very precise. Layout adheres to Rogue genius Games’s two-column full-color standard, and the artworks chosen are stock pieces I’ve seen before. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Mike Myler’s opportunist is a surprisingly interesting class – while it is not particularly “sexy”, in that it doesn’t have much in the way of truly unique abilities that make it visually stand out from other martials, its focus on devastating AoOs in an interesting angle, particularly when multiclass’d with mobility enhancers or when gestalted. This is a class that plays more distinctly than it reads, but it’s also a class that doesn’t really have much in the way of a distinct identity. That being said, I consider the base class per se to be interesting, probably at around 3.5 to 4 stars. However, unfortunately, the archetypes are less interesting/refined, and two of them have red flags regarding their functionality, which does drag down the final verdict. All in all, this is a solid class that could have used a tad bit more unique tricks and more interesting customization options. It’s not bad, but neither is it particularly exciting. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down.
You can get this class here on OBS.